Faculty of Humanities

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Higher Modern Studies

Higher Modern StudiesHigher Modern Studies reflects Curriculum for Excellence values, purposes and principles. It offers flexibility, provides time for learning, focus on skills and applying learning, and provides scope for personalisation and choice.

Pupils will acquire breadth and depth in their knowledge and understanding of current events through the study of British democracy, social issues in the UK and development issues in Africa.
Pupils develop a range of research, analytical and evaluating skills, and an understanding of:

  • the democratic process and complex political issues
  • complex social and economic issues at local, Scottish, national and international levels, and ways of addressing needs and inequalities
  • different views about the extent of state involvement in society
  • the nature and processes of conflict resolution
  • the importance of human and legal rights and responsibilities, and their application in different societies

Entry requirements: Pupils should have achieved the National 5 History course or equivalent qualifications and/or experience prior to starting this course.

Unit 1: Democracy in the UK in Scotland
In this unit pupils will cover the election and role of representatives in the UK Parliament. The course will also cover the factors which influence voting behaviour in the UK and ways in which individuals and groups in society can influence government decision-making. In addition to this, issues such as possible alternatives to the governance of Scotland and the implications of the UK’s decision to leave the EU will be evaluated.

Unit 2: Social Issues in the UK
Pupils will focus on social inequality in the UK and will explore the reasons why income and wealth inequalities exist, the reasons why health inequalities exist and the impact inequalities have on certain groups in society. The course also focuses on the government measures that have been put in place in an attempt to reduce inequalities and pupils will critically evaluate whether these measures have been effective or if inequality still exists.

Unit 3: World Issue: Development Issues in Africa
In this unit pupils investigate the reasons why development issues exist in Africa. Pupils explore the reasons for poor development and the impact this has on the individuals, families and communities of those living in African countries. Pupils then go on to look at how governments and international organisations have attempted to tackle the issue of poor development as well as evaluating how effective these interventions have been.

Exam Breakdown




Question paper 1


1 hour and 45 minutes

Question paper 2


1 hour and 15 minutes



1 hour and 30 minutes